Monday, July 5, 2010

House of Driscoll

Title: House of Driscoll
Author(s): A. J. Llewellyn & D. J. Manly
Publisher: Amber Quill
Publisher URL:
ISBN: 978-1-60272-696-3
Genre: [M/M] Dark Fantasy, Vampire,
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

All of France is in an uproar and revolution is brewing during the period when wealthy aristocrat Max Driscoll gets sexually involved with Galien, a stable hand and when the young man is arrested and facing death on the guillotine, Max turns him into a vampire. It doesn’t take long for Max to realize that his new fledgling isn’t the man he thought and the two part company. It doesn’t matter that nearly three hundred years have passed or that the two vampires live thousands of miles apart, Max can’t shake the now rogue vampire who’s willing to do just about anything to get his attention.

Now serving as the vampire council’s ‘cleaner’, Max is forced to travel to New York in order to confront Galien, when a series of murders in the gay community threatens to expose the existence of the vampire world. He vows to take care of the problem—Galien, but discovers on arrival that he’s not the vampire on the gruesome killing spree. It’s Blue, a beautiful young man recently turned by Galien and left untrained by his creator. Can Max discover the cause of Blue’s homicidal rage and turn him into a suitable partner and a worthy member of House Driscoll, or will he be forced to carry out the counsels’ edict? Death.

House of Driscoll is the first release in a new dark fantasy/vampire series. It starts during the bleak and frightening days of the French Revolution and progresses rapidly to present day France.

There’s a lot going on in this story and the relationships between the vampires are complicated, but once the set-up portion is complete, the characters, their relationships and the plot focus straightens out, making it easier to follow. The characters are numerous and the roles they play vary in overall plot importance but they’re all interesting, each with their own distinctive personality twists. The authors did a nice job building these vampires into unique individuals, some of whom I liked and others I disliked. Max believes in justice and fairness, but doesn’t know how to open his heart to love, and despite his cold-fish attitude, I liked him. Galien is a 300 hundred year old manipulative, spoiled brat, who is obsessed with Max—him I disliked, a lot. Blue is a bit of a puzzle. He’s kind, sensitive, caring and after what Galien did to him, capable of rage and murder, yet I found him a sympathetic character. Katherine is passionate, loyal to Max, fun-loving and a bit quirky and mysterious.

The conflict and confrontation between Max and Galien is the central theme and the authors did a seamless job sucking Blue and Katherine into their dispute. Emotions run high throughout the book, quickly changing from anger to sex and then to threats of death, all within a short span of pages, keeping the pace fast and action filled. Add in disposing of several bodies, a kidnapping, a group of human religious fanatics and a vampire who believes he’s the second coming of Jesus and you have all the components for an attention grabbing story.

My only complaint, aside from wanting Galien dead, is the abrupt ending that leaves the reader hanging with a—To Be Continued. When I saw those dreaded words, my jaw dropped and I sucked all the air out of the room with my gasp of “You’ve got to be kidding me!”

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